UC Davis women’s water polo coach Jamey Wright has watched closely as his brother Doug has led the Davis High squad to five straight section titles. Not surprisingly, the Aggie mentor has tried to get as many players off of those Blue Devil teams as he can.
Jamey Wright grabbed one more this week as DHS senior Heather Johnson is one of three prep players — along with Greta Kohlmoos of Granada High in Livermore and Paige Virgil or Murrieta Valley High — to sign National Letters of Intent to join the UCD program.
Johnson will become the fifth former Devil on the Aggie roster as she joins sophomores Hailey Wright and Haley Cameron, and juniors Keelia Houston and Elsie Fullerton.
Johnson, a 5-foot-8 attacker, scored 62 goals with 44 assists as a junior, then improved to 85 goals and 30 assists this fall, garnering prep All-America and All-Sac-Joaquin Section accolades in each season.
“Heather balances this group in that we’re getting somebody with really good speed and counterattack capability,” Jamey Wright said of Johnson, who he has coached for seven years with the Davis Water Polo Club. “That’s Heather’s thing. She plays good perimeter defense and looks for steals.”
Johnson’s older sister Rachel is a former DHS standout who now plays for Stanford.
Kohlmoos, a 5-10 center, scored a then-school record of 146 goals as a junior to earn All-East Bay Athletic League and All-North Coast Section first-team distinction, then broke her own benchmark with 152 goals this fall, repeating the All-EBAL distinction. With 108 steals, 24 assists and 29 drawn exclusions to supplement her offense, Kohlmoos rates as a strong candidate for a third All-NCS nod.
Virgil, a 5-8 center, competed on the Cadet National Team after her freshman and sophomore season at MVHS, then made the Youth National B Team after competing in the SoPac ODP Region Championship last summer. On the prep scene, she was the Southern Section Division III Player of the Year as a sophomore and enters her senior year with career totals of 320 goals, 219 drawn exclusions and 165 steals. Virgil has claimed back-to-back Inland Empire Player of the Year awards.
“One thing that jumps out about this class right away is a lot of offense,” Wright said. “With the graduation of Jessica Dunn and Carmen Eggert, it becomes an immediate realization. The players that are coming back this year will step into those roles (in 2014) but it’s nice to know we’ll have people who can provide that. I think these are three players who really complement each other well.”
The Aggies open their 2014 season at home against Cal on Jan. 18.